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HAPPY

HABITS

Barney Matthews

I NTRODUCTION
Before we start, let me ask you a question

Are you happy?

Yes.

No.

Keep going.

Change
something.

There has been a lot of research in to the area of happiness.


Id like to begin by sharing the findings of some of these
studies with you.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin found that 50%
of a persons happiness comes from their daily actions.

Researchers from Warwick University in England noticed


that happier workers were 12% more productive than the
average worker.
A study in Milwaukee discovered that the happiest people
lived up to nine years longer than the least happy ones.
Professors in Germany learned that happy people looked
up to 4 years younger than unhappy ones.
Studies have also shown that 50% of a persons daily
actions are habits.
Now, imagine what would happen if some of your habits
were also actions that contributed to your happiness? You
could be automatically happy every day. You could be more
productive, healthier and even look younger!
This ebook will tell you how you can use habits to become
happier. Specifically, it will show you how to create happy
habits. The first section will share some specific actions you
can do that have been shown to contribute to a persons
happiness.

The next part will share a simple method anyone can use to
create new habits using just sticky notes and a pen. Finally
we will give some specific happy habit ideas you can
adopt.

H APPY A CTIVITIES
A considerable amount of research has been done to find
out what actually makes people happy. The following
activities have been found by researchers to actually make
people happier. Remember, as we said before, 50% of your
happiness is determined by what you do.

E XERCISE.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to be happy. It
gets your endorphins flowing. Endorphins are a natural
chemical that your body releases that feel a lot like the drug
morphine. Scientists have found that the happiest people
exercise on a regular basis. Not only does exercise make you
happy though, recent research suggests it has some health
benefits too!
The great thing about exercise is it comes in many forms
and you can usually find one you enjoy. Maybe its going for
a walk by the beach, maybe its playing a round of golf,
maybe its going to the roller disco, maybe its going skiing,
maybe its playing basketball, maybe its playing badminton.

Find something that you enjoy and make that your form of
exercise.

M EDITATIO N.
The happiest person measured by scientists was a Buddhist
monk. Guess what he does on a regular basis? Meditate! You
dont have to spend all day meditating to be happy though.
30 minutes a day is all it takes, even 10 minutes of
meditation will make an appreciable difference over time.
One of the most common misconceptions about meditation
is that it is difficult and it means clearing your mind of all
thoughts. This is not true! Meditation can be as simple as
breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth
and just focusing on that as you sit comfortably.

G O O D D EEDS.
Research at the University of Pennsylvania has shown that
people who help others for 2 hours a week are happier. You
dont even have to do those 2 hours all in one go. In fact, I
would say if you can split that time up during the week it
would help your own happiness more than doing it in one
lump. Your good deeds dont have to be big for you to get

the happiness benefit. It can be as simple as writing a loved


one a special note, or making their lunch as a surprise. Or
offering to go start their car or clear off the snow.

Or

sending a complimentary email to someone first thing in the


morning. Or getting someones work set up for them before
they come in. Or giving someone a ride to work on a rainy
day. The good deeds can be really small and still give you a
big feeling of happiness.

G O F O R A G O O D W ALK.
One of the easiest ways to cultivate your own happiness is
to take a good walk. A good walk combines several things

proven to make people happy. Simply go for a good walk

with good people and discuss good things. A good walk will
give you fresh air, exercise, companionship and a positive
focus all proven to cultivate happiness.

Take A Good Walk - Getting outside gives you fresh air,


sunshine and exercise - all proven to make people happier.
Spending just 10 minutes outside in good weather can boost
a person's mood for up to 2 hours. Exercising for just
7 minutes a day makes people more relaxed and makes
them feel better about themselves.

With Good People - People who have good relationships


with family and friends, and feel cared for, live longer and
are happier. Sharing positive experiences with other people
has also been linked to increased happiness.

Discuss Good Things - People who cultivate positive


thoughts by focusing on good things and smiling are more
engaged in their work and have better moods. People who
express

gratitude

satisfaction
Good

and

questions

have

increased

decreased
to

happiness

depressive

answer

while

and

life

symptoms.

taking

your

good walk are:

What is som ething that m ade you sm ile?


What are you grateful for?
What are you excited about?

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Incidentally, these questions are based on an organizational


development practice called appreciative inquiry which
solves problems by focusing on what is going well.
Find a way to go for a good walk every day! If the weather
isnt good, then walk inside. If no one is available then go for
a walk by on your own and think good thoughts to yourself.

B E G RATEFUL.
Next to exercise, gratitude is the biggest contributor to
happiness. People who expressed gratitude 3 times a day for
30 days were shown to have a measureable increase in their
happiness.
There are many different ways to express gratitude. You
could share something you are grateful for at the dinner
table, put it on social media, write it in your journal, or even
send yourself an email it doesnt matter how you do it!

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H ABITS
We have shared several actions you can do that will make
you happier. How can you make them a habit? Well, the
good news is new habits are actually simple to create. All
you need are some small sticky notes and a pen. The 3" x 3"
adhesive note pads (also known as Post-its or Stickies)
work perfectly for creating habits.
As you are thinking about a new habit to create, keep the
following attributes of a good habit in mind. A good habit
being defined as one you have the best chance of being able
to build successfully.
Good habits are:

Small.

Simple.

Sustainable.

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SMALL.
Good habits are small. Research has shown that people are
more successful in sticking to new habits if they start small
and build them up over time. Think about it, if you pick
running as a form of exercise to help cultivate happiness are you more likely to go from never running at all to
running 5 miles overnight? Not likely. You are far more likely
to go from never running to walking half a mile, to walking a
mile quickly, to jogging a mile, to jogging 2 miles and so on.
Start small, make that a habit and then grow it over time.

SIMPLE.
Good habits are simple. You want to remove as many
obstacles to creating your new habit as possible. If you want
to do good deeds, you could create a spreadsheet to track
how many people you help every day or you could just
decide to do a good deed for the first person you see after
breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you go the spreadsheet route
youd have to also remember to record every interaction
throughout the day in your spreadsheet.

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SUSTAINABLE.
Good habits are sustainable. You want to be able to do your
new habit everyday, everywhere you go. If your new habit
was to sit in your favorite chair and meditate every day but
you travel every week you arent going to be able to sustain
this habit for very long (unless your favorite chair is an
inflatable one you can put in a suitcase of course. You could
make your habit to do a standing meditation every day so
you can do it anywhere.
An example of a small, simple and sustainable habit is:
I workout for 20 minutes at 6am every day.

TRIGGERS.
Once you have a small, simple and sustainable habit, you
need to pick a trigger for your habit. A trigger is something
that will cause you to do your habit. It is difficult to create a
whole new habit or routine from scratch. It is much easier to
create a new habit if you can find a trigger for your habit.
With a trigger your chances of success are far greater.

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Triggers are typically things like:

An existing habit.

A specific time of day.

An alarm or calendar reminder.

Some examples of triggers are:

After your shower.

Before you eat breakfast.

After you brush your teeth.

After you get dressed.

Driving to work.

When you make your lunch.

After you drink your first coffee.

When an alarm goes off.

When a reminder pops up.

At lunchtime.

After you have eaten dinner at night.

At 8.00pm.

Decide what the trigger for your habit is going to be and


write your habit and trigger on a sticky note in the present
tense.

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For example:

Place this note near your trigger to serve as a reminder to


do your new habit. You want to make this habit something
that you continue doing for an extended period of time.
Commit to doing your habit every day for 60 days. Research
has shown that this is about how long it actually takes to
create the average new habit. Easier habits can take slightly
less time to form and more challenging habits can take

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slightly longer, but most habits can be formed within this 60


day timeframe.
Draw a small grid with 30 squares on your third note and
mark down every day you do your habit.

X X X X X X X
X X X X

Commit to never missing more than one day in a


row. The mind doesnt like to see breaks in a pattern so by
seeing

your growing

chain

of successful days it will

encourage you to keep going. Its also a great motivator to


see how many days you have already done. Once you have

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filled your first 30 squares, make another sticky note and


track another 30 days. After 60 days you should have made
your new habit stick. I never recommend trying to build
more than 2 new habits at a time. Trying to form more
habits simultaneously makes it harder for you and will
reduce your chances of being able to form any of the habits.

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HAPPY HABITS
The following are some specific happy habits to help you
get started. You can adopt them exactly as written, you can
adapt them to better suite you or you can simply use them
as inspiration and come up with completely different ones.
Whatever makes you happy!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Barney Matthews is a writer, speaker and cookie lover. Using
ebooks, talks and web posts his mission is to inspire people
with words.
Originally from England he now lives in Vermont, USA with
his family. Find him on the web at: WWW.BARNEY.ME

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2016 BARNEY.ME

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